-- Widespread reports of the flu led three Tennessee school districts to remain closed for the rest of the week.
School districts in Benton, Humphreys and Stewart counties were scheduled to reopen later this week, but school officials told ABC News they postponed the opening to help prevent the spread of the illness.
Mark Florence, director of schools for Benton County, told ABC News the district consulted with community physicians and concluded that due to the high amount of flu cases they have seen this year, extending the Christmas holiday for the rest of the week would be best.
He added physicians told him in the last week alone, reported flu cases have doubled.
Humphreys County school district director Richard Rawlings echoed Florence’s reasoning for his district as well, telling ABC News schools will remain closed because of the flu and the bone-chilling weather. Rawlings said he and his colleagues consulted with doctors and nurse practitioners across the county before making the decision.
Stewart County Schools posted on its Facebook page Tuesday, writing, “In an effort to prevent the spread of flu and other illnesses, as well as prevent student exposure to extremely cold temperatures, Stewart County Schools will remain closed the rest of the week. Schools will reopen on Monday, January 8, 2018.”
Twelve flu-associated pediatric deaths have been reported for the 2017 to 2018 season thus far, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In the 2016 to 2017 season, the CDC reported 110 pediatric deaths related to the flu, an increase from the year prior.